Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — For artist Trần Thị Thu, abstract expressionist painting is a medium in which she can find herself. It’s fitting, then, that her first solo exhibition at the Việt Nam Museum of Fine Arts bears her name, titled Thu.
The exhibition displays 15 large paintings, the fruit of years in which she explored styles such as impressionism, post-impressionism and semi-abstraction.
"I constantly try to find the language to express my emotion and my vision of the world," said Thu.
The paintings were all made by Thu during a high-energy period in 2016. The artist uses different materials such as hemp fibre, stone powder, sand and others in her acrylic and oil paintings.
The painting No1, sized at 155cm by 200cm, is rough and bare. It is covered with thick layers of acrylic and hemp fibre to recall the artist’s childhood. It represents her nostalgic memories of playing as a 10 year-old, mixing earth and straw to build a wall.
No3, sized at 350cm by 150cm, is inspired by sunsets in the country’s northwest.
"I love sunset in the northwesten very much. Images of houses with cooking smoke from the kitchens covering the dark green mountains in the later afternoon are so beautiful. The painting is my love and my memories of the northwest area," Thu said.
Born in 1970 in Sơn La Province, Thu has dreamed of being a painter since she was nine years old. She studied at National College of Fine Arts and Music Education and is a fine arts teacher in Hòa Bình Province.
At the age of 30, she decided to realise her dream. She studied at Việt Nam University of Fine Arts and earned her MA in fine arts in 2010.
Thu has been a member of the Hà Nội art community for about five years. A prize from the the Việt Nam Fine Arts Association in 2014 helped her to believe more in her work.
She usually travels between Sơn La, Hòa Bình and Hà Nội. This path helps her earn income and nurtures her desire to paint. With jobs besides fine arts teaching and fashion design, she has increased her income and has more time and freedom to paint. Many ideas are born from abstractly decorative fabrics.
"My experience in producing fashion fabrics by hand has been helping me to consider what kind of art language is suitable for me. I arrived at abstract expressionism. I have been yearning for the Jackson Pollock-like language that I will definitely try my best to pursue. My first solo exhibition represents my efforts on my first stage of the artistic journey where I have been working relentlessly," said Thu.
Although her native land is in a suburban district of Hà Nội, she was born and grew up in Sơn La – a province in the northwest area, a distant and remote place that has produced only a few painters, according to art critic Phan Cẩm Thượng.
"However, she has been passionate for painting naturally, daring to pay for it for her entire life. She has been really working as a painter for seven years from 2010, especially since when she settled in Hòa Bình," said Thượng.
"In this seven-year period, she has been continuously devoting herself to art, learning from colleagues, seeking herself and finding herself lonely and desolate."
The exhibition is running at 66 Nguyễn Thái Học Street until December 9. — VNS